GK is home with me today. She had a fever overnight and we saw no reason to force her to go to school if she wasn't feeling well.
And forcing her is just what it would be considering the week we've had so far. My little 3-year-old, who is such a terror around the house to her siblings, to me and her mom, and poor Mr. Baby, has been beside herself about her daycare and the new morning routine.
On Monday - day one - she talked excitedly about her new school and grabbed up her lunchbox with eagerness. This lasted until we got into her classroom where she lost it and had to be pried from my arms with promises of dolls and blocks and new playmates.
Day two was even worse with me dropping her off at the playground where her class was already so that I could hear her screaming for me all the way to the parking lot, down the driveway and out onto the street.
Day three was awful; she started crying before we even left the house and didn't stop until ... well, I'm not sure when. When she got home that afternoon, she wouldn't even look at or speak to me, such was her disdain for my actions of the past few mornings.
So her fever gains her a reprieve from her new school. It's a day to regroup and reconsider, when I'll spend the day reminding her of the great things about her school, her teachers and all of her new little friends. I'm sure it will register with her and make a difference, she's as rational as any 3-year-old.
I know what you're all thinking, that it will get better, that drop-off will be easier when she's acclimated and she will actually begin looking forward to going. That's a nice thought, but I'm afraid that's just not the case. I've been doing this a long time, I've taken all four of my kids everywhere they've needed to go in the mornings for as long as they've been going there, and I can sense how it's going to go for the rest of the year on the first day. Sure, she'll get used to it and come to accept it, but she'll never be one of those kids who grabs her lunchbox and takes off from the car toward the doors. I'll carry her in every day and every day there will be that last little grab for me, the faintest of tugs at my shirt and my heart, as I hand her off to her teacher.
The daycare she's going to seems really good and we've been happy with the way they've handled these morning traumas and how they have made sure to let us know at the end of each day how she cheered up and had a good day.
I know she gets happy, I know that the morning is not indicative of the entire day, but it's been my lot in parenthood. Having my day ruined from the guilt of leaving a screaming child behind is what I've done for years, yet it never, ever gets any easier.